Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?
Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of over 7,000 individual members and 112 organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.
Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.
Bounced checks and bankruptcies. Arrests and restraining orders.
The names of a slew of candidates running for the Colorado legislature can be found in police and court records and other official documents. Some incidents happened decades ago, while others were as recent as this year.
"This is the challenge of having ordinary people running for office," said Rep. Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, who is overseeing House Republican candidates and was unaware some had police records.
"Everybody makes mistakes, some more serious than others," McNulty said. "When you have a citizen legislature, you get real people with real problems."
Republican Tom Janich of Brighton, running to unseat Democratic Rep. Judy
Solano, has been arrested five times, including once for resisting arrest.
"It's my record. I've got to own up to it," he said.
But the 48-year-old said his run-ins with the law happened when he was younger, and he now has a record of public service.
"Heck, if everyone in Adams County who ever drank one too many or smoked a joint would vote for me, I'd win in a landslide," Janich said.
Another legislative candidate with an arrest record is Democratic Rep. Dennis Apuan of Colorado Springs, arrested in 2002 at Peterson Air Force Base during a protest against nuclear weapons.
Republicans are incensed by the arrest, particularly since Apuan's district includes an Army post, Fort Carson. Voters elected him in the Democratic landslide of 2008, but Republicans are stressing his arrest in their attempt to unseat him this election.
"Hey, this is America"
"They've brought it up again and again and again, but it never really gains traction," Apuan said. "Hey, this is America. We have freedom of speech and freedom to peacefully assemble. Social change has come about in the United States through peaceful actions like this."
The Denver Post checked the names of Democratic and Republican legislative candidates against police, court and other government agency files.
Political campaigns have done their own background checks and are sending voters mailers outlining their opponents' pasts.
The constitution says state office can't be held by anyone convicted of "embezzlement of public moneys, bribery, perjury, solicitation of bribery or subornation of perjury."
Most candidates questioned about their backgrounds were extremely candid, even offering up personal court records or going to the courts themselves for information in cases where the charge was available but not details of the case.